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Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 08:20 GMT 09:20 UK
Eminem's UK dates under threat
Eminem leaving the Oakland County Court
Eminem leaving the Oakland County Court
Rapper Eminem could be forced to abandon plans to appear at three festivals in the UK as he waits to learn if he will be jailed for two weapons charges.

The singer will learn his fate on 5 June after entering a no contest plea to two charges stemming from an incident outside an audio equipment store in Michigan last year.


The judge is treating Mathers like she would treat any other defendant that appears before her

Wally Piszczatowski, Eminem's lawyer
Even if he escapes prison there is no guarantee he will be able to perform in the UK.

Two weeks ago he was sentenced to two years' probation on a separate charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

While he is allowed to move freely around the United States for work purposes, he cannot go abroad without seeking permission from the court.

Denied permission

If the judge in the most recent weapons case also places him on probation he could be denied permission to leave the US.

Eminem has been booked to appear at the Reading and Leeds festivals in August and at Glasgow's Gig on the Green festival.

Eminem
Eminem's concerts have courted controversy
Whatever the outcome, the controversy surrounding the rapper is unlikely to diminish.

If he is placed on probation and given permission to travel to the UK, he could face similar scenes to the protests outside his concerts in Britain at the start of this year.

His conviction for weapons charges is likely to further intensify feelings towards the singer who is regarded sexist and homophobic by some.

The performer is additionally charged with carrying a concealed weapon - which can carry a five-year jail term - and brandishing a weapon during an argument with the road manager for a rival act, Insane Clown Posse, in June last year.

Prosecutors have said they will press for a jail sentence for Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers III.

'Broad daylight'

"He pulled out a gun in broad daylight in a public parking lot. If anybody had a firearm in that parking lot, you would have had a shootout in a public place," assistant prosecutor Mark Bilkovic said.

Eminem
Eminem was sentenced to two years probation earlier this month
Under American law, a no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but it is treated as a guilty plea for sentencing purposes.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris said she was no longer considering a jail term, but said that could change after she reviews the case.

Three witnesses said Eminem pulled a firearm in a public car park.

But Mr Bilkovic said Eminem did not point the weapon at anybody.

He added that Eminem owned the firearm legally, but did not have a permit to conceal the weapon and carry it in public.

'Very pleased'

Eminem's lawyer Wally Piszczatowski said that his client was anxious to get the case behind him and to go back to making music and staying at home with his daughter.

Piszczatowski said that the defence was "'very pleased" with the way Judge Morris had handled the case.

"She is treating Mathers like she would treat any other defendant that appears before her," Piszczatowski told reporters after the hearing.

Eminem, whose Marshall Mathers LP is the fastest-selling solo album ever in the United States, won three Grammy Awards in February.

On 10 April to he pleaded guilty to a separate weapons charge in Macomb County, also in Michigan, and received two years' probation.

In return for the plea, prosecutors dropped an assault charge in which Eminem was accused of pistol-whipping a man seen kissing his wife, Kimberly Mathers, outside a nightclub in June 2000.

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See also:

23 Apr 01 | Music
Eminem leads Reading line-up
23 Apr 01 | Scotland
Eminem tops Glasgow bill
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